As I stand with a cigarette in my hand,
staring at the school next door
Where children in their strict uniforms are being taught to march
to a harsh rhythm
by a harsher command —
I discover one of the origins of my fears!

A child’s heart is like a bucket
It takes in whatever one pours
And when one pours
stick and scolding and slap and
routine and result
The child overflows with tears
Which can never be refilled again by poisonous smokes—never never!

Yes, you feed them
and speak softly too
and let them play and sing and dance free:
What’s the point of sitting underneath
an already chopped tree?!



Adesh Acharya

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